« NUTRITION POLICY »
Comprehensive policy recommendations to improve eating habits, including increasing fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake, have been made by governments and national health/scientific organizations around the world. Many countries are engaged in nutrition policy as nutritionrelated diseases reach epidemic levels and become major public health concerns. Governments have many policy tools to use to improve nutrition and promote healthier food environments including: education, legislation, regulation, incentives, disincentives and legal actions. Policy changes are happening around the world, although there are many threats to progress and many unrealized opportunities. At the national level, there is often more political will to focus policy changes on improving child nutrition and creating healthier school food environments.
In this issue, Capacci provides an excellent review of European nutrition policies distinguishing between measures adopted to promote informed choice, such as nutrition education campaigns and public information, and policies for environmental change, such as regulating school meals, providing free fruit at school or taxing unhealthy foods. Dorfman and Wootan note that food marketing to children causes them to prefer, request, and consume foods high in salt, sugar and fat and that little progress has been made by the U.S. government to set voluntary recommendations for what foods can be marketed to children.
Kraak and Story summarize progress by the U.S. government and schools to promote a healthful diet to American children, including increasing F&V availability, access and promotion, based on a comprehensive evidence review of Institute of Medicine recommendations. The most promising policy change in the U.S. – new comprehensive nutrition standards for school lunch – will double the amount of F&V served daily and improve nutrition for 32 million American children.